Johnny Bush

On “Green Snakes (on the Ceiling),” Johnny Bush sings like one of my uncles—the one who once got a big hole on his ranch dug for a swimming pool, then got into a fistfight with the contractor, so over time he and my dad and their buddies filled that hole up with Hamm’s cans mixed with pig bones, rainwater and piss, and pretty soon the snakes, real ones, were slithering everywhere—used to drive his big pink Mercury. He was usually all over the road, just like this country veteran (a Texan named Bush, but don’t hold it against him) is with his vocals on the title cut, a lush’s lament. But on the following pedal steel-driven weeper, Bush reins it in and grabs your heartstrings. And the rest of this fine set ranges from sawdust-floor stompers to cry-in-your-Shiner Bock material, most of ’em lesser-known country-western classics. The backing’s pretty much an all-star affair, too. A damn good record.